MVP Race 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is a tough year in the NBA. It saw the most hotly contested Western Playoff race in history, with the #8 seed winning 50 games. But an even tighter race is shaping up over who is MVP.

Let me go on the record as saying I think the MVP is a stupid award. It is an award without any clear criteria and whose meaning has changed over time. But a winner must be chosen, and this year it seems to come down to two players. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

Now, like I said, I don't really care about this award. But since they give it out, I wish they would just be consistent with the criteria. I have had no problem with Kobe Bryant not winning the award before. I often agreed with the reasoning. In the past it has been one of three things. Kobe wasn't the best player on his own team (when he had Shaq), he didn't make his teammates better, or he just wasn't on winning teams.

Few people would argue that Kobe Bryant isn't the best player in the league. But ever since the Colorado incident, Kobe has become someone people love to hate. They will come up with any reason to degrade Kobe's accomplishments.

I actually think if Kobe deserved MVP, it should have happened in one of the previous two seasons. Two season's ago, he was unbelievable. He had his 81 point game, averaged 40 for a month, and put together a string of 50+ point games. Last year, he carried a team consisting of Kwame Brown and Smush Parker into the playoffs. Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. Seriously folks, these are people who shouldn't even be in the NBA.

But Kobe's team was never one of the elite teams. I don't agree with that as a criteria, you can't always help who you play with, but if that was the criteria, I have no problem with it. This year however, Kobe had the best team in the aforementioned brutal Western Conference. So what reason can people possibly come up with now?

  • Chris Paul led a Hornets team to the 2nd best record when nobody thought they would do anything. What did Kobe do? Show me one person, just one, who had the Lakers finishing any better than 8th in the conference. I dare you to do it. Most had them finishing at the very bottom.
  • Chris Paul has less help. Really? Peja, Chandler, and West are all-star players. None of them were hurt this year. How many all-stars does Kobe play with? One, Pau, and he wasn't there for half the season. Key players like Ariza, Bynum, Gasol, Mihm, all hurt this year. Most of the players that are doing great this year were on the Laker's teams in year's past. When they sucked, it was Kobe's fault. Now that they are doing great, Kobe doesn't get any credit for that. it's a joke.
  • But just look at all those assist. Chris Paul makes his teammates better - If this is the criteria, you might as well give it to a point guard every year, because it won't be a fair contest. Point Guards have the ball in their hands more than anybody else. They are, by design, going to get the most assist and make their teammates "better" than anyone else.
If they give it to Chris Paul, I won't be mad. He is fantastic and probably deserves it in any other year. If Lebron gets close though, then I have a problem. If Kobe couldn't win it the previous two years, no way in hell Lebron deserves it.